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In recognition of the great work that Green Connect has been doing for the past nine years, the Wollongong-based not-for-profit organisation won the top award at Wednesday night’s highly prestigious Green Globe awards gala event, the Premier’s Award for Environmental Excellence, as well as the award for Community Leadership. Supporting sustainability leaders across New South Wales for 20 years, the annual Green Globe Awards are NSW's premier environmental awards, recognising and celebrating collaboration, partnerships and projects that encourage others to achieve positive change and protect our environment. This year’s awards were held at the Taronga Centre in Sydney. Ms Felicity Wilson [...]
2515's November Feature Article Green Connect was lucky enough to be included as the cover feature in this month’s issue of 2515. This fantastic local independent news magazine is delivered to every household from Thirroul right up to Clifton! Kylie spoke with 2515 editor and publisher, Genevieve Swart about the amazing growth that Green Connect has experienced, the impact we are making on the zero-waste scene, the jobs we are creating and the possibilities that lie ahead if we work together for a more sustainable Illawarra. The article includes some inspiring stories on our own Natasha Wilmer, Ama Folly Bebe, Jacob [...]
As always, there is a whole lot happening at Green Connect this month! Alright, here we go... Funding The big news last week was new collaborative funding from the Ian Potter Foundation and the Westpac Foundation, which will be used to develop all of Green Connect's business arms. This funding will create 111 more jobs for young people and former refugees over the next three years. We'll be ramping up environmental education at the farm, opening more shops and strengthening our zero waste and labour hire arms. You can see the full media release here. We are so incredibly grateful to [...]
Are you arty? We need your help! The kind folks at Burning Palms Gallery are doing an art exhibition called “Art with a message” and would love to have a print that represents Green Connect featured in the exhibition. All original artworks (no copyright issues) welcome! Please email us your A3 design with a maximum of two colours by 9am Tuesday 26 November.
Collaborative funding approach to create more jobs in the Illawarra Republished from the Westpac Foundation with permission Illawarra-based social enterprise, Green Connect, is the fifth organisation to benefit from a new collaborative funding approach led by Westpac Foundation which aims to create more jobs for vulnerable Australians. Together, Westpac Foundation and The Ian Potter Foundation will invest $564,000 in Green Connect to help scale its enterprise to create an estimated 111 new jobs and 262 employment pathways over the next three years. Legal firm MinterEllison will also be involved in the collaboration as a key pro bono partner. Green Connect focuses [...]
Christmas is magical and we want to share some great gift ideas that are sustainable, memorable and will create much-loved presents. Things that you can make yourself, are second-hand, experiences that will last a lifetime or donations are ways we can gift this Christmas and make a contribution to help our planet! These are our tips for Sustainable Christmas Gift Ideas: 1.) Buy less this Christmas! Why not agree to a limit that you and your family will spend, or when buying think of what do you need, want, can wear or can read! 2.) Buy second-hand or home-made Christmas Gifts. This really [...]
Green Connect is proud to be able to offer locally produced, chemical-free, free-range pork from our farm in Warrawong For the last 4 years, we have kept pigs on the Green Connect farm, they've been a great addition to our workforce. They root around in the ground, digging up roots and plants and fertilising the ground as they go. Using animals as part of the permaculture process is a great way of diversifying the use of the land. Our pigs are rotated around the farm, where they have huge areas to graze and explore. They are fed vegetable and fruit scraps [...]
Fair Food Internship Green Connect employs young people and former refugees to do work that helps the planet and the community. We run an 11-acre permaculture farm in Warrawong and an op shop in Bellambi, as well as offering zero waste services and labor hire to local businesses, schools, councils and events. Please explore our website for more information. Our fair food farm provides chemical free vegetables and fruit that feed over 120 households along with several restaurants and cafes through the Illawarra every week. We also produce free-range pork, lamb, eggs and natural honey, and provide farm tours and workshops [...]
This week Wollongong City Council unanimously passed a motion in support of the Australian government's investment in the recycling industry and "to express an interest that Wollongong be the site of a new Australian recycling plant noting a suitable site or sites for its location" (more info in the minutes here, item 23). We were very excited to hear this! While jobs in Wollongong in mining and manufacturing continue to decline, there’s a new wave of employment opportunities in waste, recycling and the circular economy, that the region is poised to lead. This is a new industrial revolution, where what has [...]
Excellence in Sustainability from the Illawarra Business Awards The Illawarra Business Awards were held on Friday evening, and Cal Champagne and Kylie proudly accepted the Excellence in Sustainability award on behalf of Green Connect. We were also finalists in Excellence in Workplace Inclusion and Outstanding Business Leader. For almost nine years, Green Connect staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to create jobs, reduce waste and grow fair food. This is wonderful recognition of the contributions of many. Thank you to everyone who has been and/or continues to be a part of it – and for everyone standing up for and [...]
Here’s some of the latest news from Green Connect… We’re hiring an Activity Coordinator We have been piloting farm tours, workshops and experiences over the last few months and they are proving very popular. Luckily, we have secured some funding to ramp these up and now we need a superstar to join our team as Activity Coordinator. If you or someone you know think you can do amazing things for the community and the planet by coordinating a range of events at Green Connect, particularly for children and families, please head to https://green-connect.com.au/were-hiring-an-activity-coordinator/ for more information and to apply. We may [...]
We are about to scale up our activities at the Green Connect farm (and possibly op shop) to offer more tours, workshops and experiences, especially for children and families. Once we have an Activity Coordinator in place (see here for more information and to apply), we may need additional Facilitators and/or Curriculum Developers. Please let us know if you are interested in either of these roles and what background you have that makes you a great candidate by filling in the form below.
We're hiring! Green Connect employs young people and former refugees to do work that helps the planet and the community. We run an 11-acre permaculture farm in Warrawong and an op shop in Bellambi, as well as offering zero waste services and labour hire to local businesses, schools, councils and events. Please explore our website for more information. After almost 9 years working in sustainability, almost 7 years at the Green Connect farm, and now with an op shop, we are often approached to share what we know and there is demand for hands-on activities that help people to learn more [...]
The 2019 financial year was Green Connect's biggest yet. There were some tough moments and some great moments. We grew, we welcomed new team members, and we welcomed the op shop in to the Green Connect family! Importantly, we: Employed 122 young people and former refugees (more jobs) Kept 119 tonnes of waste out of landfill (less waste) Grew and distributed 35,166kg of chemical-free food (fair food) For a full overview of the year that was, download an excerpt of our parent company Community Resources' annual report here: Annual Report 2019 excerpt - Green Connect For the full annual [...]
Today we had the honour of attending a very special meeting between Wollongong City Council, His Excellency Governor General of Australia David Hurley and Her Excellency Linda Hurley, and community organisations making our region more sustainable. Kylie Flament, our General Manager, spoke to Their Excellencies about our work. They were very interested in our work at large music festivals and other events in particular where we’re significantly reducing waste by working with organisers to change what is coming in, and handsorting waste at the events to recycle and compost as much as possible. We talked about the [...]
What a crazy start to spring – hot one day, cold and raining the next. We love a bit of rain at the farm so are welcoming the wet – as are the kids who have visited lately and splashed in some very muddy puddles. There’s lots happening at Green Connect as usual! Here’s the latest… Funding – yay! We have been awarded three grants in the last couple of weeks, including the My Community Project grant to build a kids area and design and coordinate children’s activities at the Green Connect farm (thank you to everyone who voted for us!). [...]
We were delighted to get a call to tell us that we are finalists in not one but three (!!) categories at this year's Illawarra Business Awards. Last year was our first year at the awards and we won Excellence in Social Enterprise. This year we have been shortlisted for: Excellence in Sustainability Excellence in Workplace Inclusion Outstanding Business Leader (Kylie Flament) Wish us luck!
Thank you to everyone in Wollongong who voted for us as part of My Community Project. Thanks to you, the NSW Government is going to fund a children's play area and kids activities on the Green Connect farm! Here's a bit more about our project, called "Fun on the farm": We live in a world that is disconnected from nature and from where our food comes from. Through an educational play area and hands-on activities on an 11-acre farm, this project will re-connect children and families with plants, animals, food systems and lots of mud. Messy play, [...]
Natasha Willmer is a born and bred country girl from Temora. In 1996 she found herself in Wollongong, after missing the truckie she was meant to be meeting up with. She came down the mountain, saw the view and thought, ‘Nup, not leaving! I’m staying. Done.’ And she’s been here ever since... Tell me a little bit about yourself- who are you outside of Green Connect? Outside of Green Connect? Do I exist outside of Green Connect? Good question. I don’t do much besides Green Connect. I’m here five days a week. I was a volunteer, I [...]
Last week I went to the Social Impact Evidence Forum in Melbourne and got to catch up with lots of great social entrepreneurs, researchers and funders. I have to admit, running a social enterprise is hard. It was comforting to know that others find it hard too – and that they (like we) do it anyway because we know what a big difference we’re making. It’s hard because we’re trying to run a business with all the commercial expertise a business requires while also doing all the social and environmental good of a charity. There are never [...]
Tucked away in one of the poorest suburbs of Wollongong, a city built on mining and manufacturing industries that are now in decline, lies an 11-acre permaculture farm that gives young people and former refugees a chance to learn new skills, try new things, make mistakes, meet new people, and make a difference. The majority of the young people that come to Green Connect have dropped out of school or are at risk of doing so. Some have learning difficulties, mental health challenges and/or difficult home lives that have made learning the skills they will need to get and keep a [...]
A group of volunteers came to the Green Connect farm to remove a leftover crop, glean as much edible food as possible, and compost the rest. This was a pilot project from our Food Optimisation team to figure out the best way to ensure that no food goes to waste at the farm. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for future events.
The Bellambi op shop that Illawarra residents know and love is joining the Green Connect family and we are inviting the whole community to a morning tea on Saturday 11 May to celebrate. Full press release here
Emmanuel Bakenga arrived in Australia on December 4th 2012, after living in a refugee camp in Uganda for seven years and escaping war within his home of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In 2013, after many months of struggling to afford to live and constant rejection from employers due to his temporary visa, Emmanuel heard about Green Connect... What did your life look like in the DRC? I did a bachelor degree in social science and also a degree in theology. I worked as a social worker, but with the church. We had an orphanage [...]
Green Connect – a Wollongong based social enterprise – has won a NSW Government contract to help solve youth unemployment. Green Connect has been engaged to create employment opportunities for disengaged young people aged 15-24, who live in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands, and face multiple and complex barriers to employment. The contract is part of the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge: a $10 million NSW Government program that provides funding to innovative solutions and ideas that help young people find employment in NSW. Kylie Flament, General Manager, said:“We’re thrilled to secure this contract, and to grow [...]